Heading into the regular-season finale, all eyes are on the NFC East playoff picture with the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants and Washington Football Team fighting for a postseason spot. Washington controls their own destiny while the Cowboys and Giants needed some help to reach the playoffs.
The Cowboys came up short from making the postseason after their loss to the Giants. New York still needs Washington to lose to the Eagles to clinch the division and make the postseason.
Washington owned the tiebreaker over the Cowboys thanks to sweeping their season series, per ESPN. The Cowboys could have also went to the playoffs with a tie against the Giants and a loss by Washington. A Washington tie versus the Eagles would have also sent the Cowboys through to the postseason if Dallas had pulled out a win. The Giants needed a win over the Cowboys along with a Washington loss to make the postseason.
Dallas is officially eliminated from playoff contention but ended the season on a promising note despite dealing with significant injuries. Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy noted prior to their loss to the Giants that the team wants to bring the positive momentum into the offseason.
“I definitely do believe that success at the end of the season catapults you into your offseason program, and can very well factor into next year,” McCarthy said, per USA Today.
For Washington, the season began with Dwayne Haskins as the team’s captain and starting quarterback. It ended with the team releasing Haskins before Washington’s season finale with their playoff fate potentially on the line.
“Rivera said he has put a lot of emphasis on how important this upcoming game is,” Washington’s reporter Zach Selby tweeted. “There have been several close losses this season, and none of those will haunt him because it’s all part of the learning process.”
New York Giants’ Playoff Scenarios
The Giants can clinch a playoff spot under the following scenario, per NFL.com.
1. Giants win + Washington loss
Dallas Cowboys’ Playoff Scenarios
The Cowboys can clinch a playoff spot under any of the following scenarios, per NFL.com.
1. Cowboys win + Washington loss or tie
2. Cowboys tie + Washington loss
Washington Football Team’s Playoff Scenarios
Washington can clinch a playoff spot under any of the following scenarios, per NFL.com.
1. Washington win
2. Washington tie + Cowboys loss or tie
NFC East Standings
The Washington Football Team holds the tiebreaker over the Cowboys, but the Giants own the edge if they finish with an identical record as the WFT.
NFC Playoff Standings
Teams with an asterisk have already clinched a playoff spot. Teams in bold would make the playoffs if the postseason started today.
NFC Playoff Matchups
Here are the current NFC playoff matchups if the postseason started today. The top seed gets a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
No. 7 Chicago Bears vs. No. 2 New Orleans Saints
No. 6 L.A. Rams vs. No. 3 Seattle Seahawks
No. 5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. No. 4 Washington Football Team
Bye: No. 1 Green Bay Packers
NFC Wild Card Standings
Thanks to playoff expansion, the top three teams in the Wild Card standings will claim a postseason spot. Teams in bold would make the playoffs if the postseason started today.